Bouquet breakdown: bohemian rhapsody

Jacqueline Anne

How Freely Floral’s Gillian Bryant played with texture and the season to create an earth-toned, free-spirited arrangement.

Gillian Bryant was only 14 the first time she designed a bouquet for a formal affair, a creative at heart she says she was drawn to flowers from childhood. “Every time there was a wedding in the family—which there were a lot of, because I’m one of six kids—I ended up doing flower arrangements,” she says. A multidisciplinary artist who’s also worked in fashion and jewellery, Bryant followed her childhood love of blooms through a few flower shop gigs and some wedding work for friends and friends-of-friends before officially going at it on her own in summer 2018 with Freely Floral, a blossoming venture in Halifax. “I think I’m just very sensitive to beauty and I have an eye for it,” she says. “I’m drawn to making beautiful things—I can’t help myself.”

Though flexible in her style, designing depending on the tastes and vibes of the couples she works with, Bryant tackled this full-on boho bouquet thanks to a collaboration with local photographer Jacqueline Anne. With a shared vision—and Bryant’s craving to work with dried flowers—in mind, the floral component of this editorial shoot was designed with moss greens, the f.ading fall and impending winter in mind. Here’s how it came together:

1. It all started with the pampas grass, says Bryant of her inspiration. “Normally, people order in from far away. California grows really beautiful fluffy pampas, but when I got it, it was straight and stiff.” A texture junkie, she decided to juxtapose the tones and structure of the Golden Cali pampas with local, foraged pampas and build from there.

2. Next came white Italian ruscus, which Bryant chose for its leafy look and how much light it let through: “I thought ‘this will make it look really ethereal,’” she says.

3. Neutral palate for the win! Bryant achieved this by using Pompeii roses and Sahara roses in earth tones.

4. If you look closely at brown lisianthus, she says, it adds a little pop of deep purple.

5. The rustic, almost pinecone-like cedar roses—which Bryant attached to a stick, to mimic a seedpod or flower on a stem—added a sense of seasonality.

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